Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8.1 has now officially been released to manufacturing (RTM), meaning holiday shoppers will be able to pick up a new PC with Microsoft's updated OS. "In many ways, this marks a new day at Microsoft, reflecting a number of rapid release firsts," Antoine Leblond, corporate VP of Windows program management, wrote in a blog post. "Windows 8.1 is a significant update." This is the first major update to Windows 8, which was released in October 2012. Companies like Microsoft typically release updated software to PC makers, or OEMs, prior to a consumer launch so they have time to load the new software onto PCs that will hit the shelves of Best Buy or be sold online. Those with existing Windows 8 devices can update to 8.1 on 18 October for free, but it will also be available in new PCs, so this RTM launch provides HP, Acer, Lenovo and other Windows PC makers a few extra months to make sure it's ready to ship.
Unofficial Android stores host over 7,000 malicious and dangerous apps, an investigation by non-profit cyber security organisation AV-Comparatives has found. The research looked at 20 major third-party Android app stores between November 2012 and May 2013. 7,175 apps containing malware, adware and spyware were discovered inside the markets. The vast majority of the malicious app were hosted in Chinese based stores, with the lowest malware presence found in European stores. The research shows that the issue is a growing problem across Asia, with European and American consumers less widely affected; nearly 95 per cent of the dangerous apps were found in Asian stores. "The increasing popularity of smartphones in general, combined with the growth of the Android market share, means that Android-based systems are an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals," said AV-Comparatives.
BlackBerry is reportedly looking to spin off its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service into a separate business that would compete with the likes of Viber and WhatsApp. According to the Wall Street Journal, BBM would operate as a subsidiary known as BBM, Inc. A BlackBerry spokeswoman said she could not comment on rumour or speculation. According to the Journal, spinning it off will help "position BBM as a valuable asset ahead of a potential sale." A few execs have already been shuffled to the BBM team, which is looking into features beyond messaging, the paper said. BBM used to be BlackBerry's killer app - allowing BlackBerry owners to message each other without eating into their monthly text message allotment. But the feature is no longer enough to keep people tied to BlackBerry platform, so the company announced in May that it would make BBM available to iOS and Android users sometime this summer.
The 2013 version of Google's Nexus 7 tablet has been launched in the UK today with a starting price of £199. Available through the Google Play Store with free shipping for a limited time, £199 will get you the Wi-Fi enabled 16GB version, whilst the 32GB device costs £239. The 4G LTE 32GB version will be made available later in the year and will cost £299. The Nexus 7 was first made available in the US earlier this month. The tablet is the first to run on the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.3. The ultra thin device is just 8.65mm thick and weighs 290g. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. The 7in, 1,920 x 1,200 Full HD scratch resistant display boasts 323 pixels-per-inch, as well as 178 degree viewing angles.